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Title: Frybread  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Native American cuisine, List of American breads, Taco, Cuisine of the Midwestern United States, Doughnut
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Type Flatbread
Place of origin United States
Main ingredients Dough, leavening agent, fat (oil, shortening, or lard)
Other information State bread of South Dakota
A member of the Creek tribe and U.S. military makes frybread during a pow-wow in Iraq while deployed for The Iraq War.
A frybread taco, Indian taco, or Navajo taco, is a frybread topped with various items normally found in tacos.

Frybread (also spelled fry bread) is a flat dough fried or deep-fried in oil, shortening, or lard. The dough is generally leavened by soured milk, baking powder or yeast (rarely). Frybread can be eaten alone or with various toppings such as honey, jam, or hot beef. Frybread can also be made into tacos, like Indian tacos. It is a simple complement to meals.


According to Navajo tradition, frybread was created in 1864 using the flour, sugar, salt and lard that was given to them by the United States government when the Navajo, who were living in Arizona, were forced to make the 300-mile journey known as the "Long Walk" and relocate to Bosque Redondo, New Mexico onto land that could not easily support their traditional staples of vegetables and beans.[1] The fact is that Fry Bread is not and was never a traditional Native American Indian food as it did not exist during Pre-Columbian period and as such it can not be classified as a traditional indgenous food of the Americas.

For many Native Americans, "frybread links generation with generation and also connects the present to the painful narrative of Native American history."[1] It is often served both at home and at gatherings. The way it is served varies from region to region and different tribes have different recipes. It can be found in its many ways at state fairs and pow-wows, but what is served to the paying public may be different from what is served in private homes and in the context of tribal family relations.

Health concerns

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that a plate of fried bread consists of 700 calories and 27 grams of fat.[2] According to Chaleen Brewer, a nutritionist at the Genesis Diabetes Prevention Program, "commodity foods like processed cheese, potted meats, and the lard used in making frybread are partly responsible for a "diabetes epidemic" among her people."[1]


A typical frybread recipe consists of flour, water, salt, a small amount of oil, and baking powder. The ingredients are mixed and worked into a simple dough, and covered with a cloth for 30 minutes to an hour before being formed into small balls, and are either rolled or pulled into flat discs prior to frying in hot oil. Many variations of this basic recipe exist, including substituting mayonnaise for oil in the dough (which produces a crisp, crunchy texture that resists getting soggy - ideal for Navajo tacos), and leavening the dough with a small container of yogurt or soured milk instead of using baking powder or yeast (produces a rich, sourdough flavor but requires several hours to fully leaven after the dough is prepared). Most frybread recipes do not use yeast at all because it was not typically available to Native peoples when this foodstuff was developed. In many Native American households, frybread dough is mixed early in the morning and left in a large bowl covered with a cloth to leaven and is used throughout the day to prepare fresh bread when needed.

Other facts

  • Frybread was named the official "state bread" of South Dakota in 2005.[3]
  • Frybread is also known in South American cooking as a cachanga.[4]
  • In Hungary (Central Europe), there is a similar food called Lángos.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Miller, Jen. "Frybread". Retrieved 2012-01-20. 
  2. ^ "USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23". USDA. 
  3. ^ Official State Foods. 2006. February 18, 2007.
  4. ^ Glossary,

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • Reprint of a Tacoma News Tribune article on fry bread
  • Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture - Fry Bread
  • Recipes for frybread by Tribe or Nation
  • Navajo Fry Bread History
  • Fry Bread Facts
  • More Than Frybread Mockumentary
  • Fry Bread House Honored Among the Best of the Best — frybread restaurant in Phoenix a winner of 2012 "America's Classics" James Beard Foundation Award.
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